"I don’t mean the colour of skin. I just mean the culture of it"
Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda has slammed metal music for being “too white”.
Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory, the group have released a 6-disc special edition of the album.
Promoting the re-release, Shinoda spoke with Metal Hammer about the seminal album and the music scene of that time.
The Japanese American rapper said that Linkin Park’s first album helped to diversify metal’s appeal.
“At the time,” Shinoda says, “if you asked somebody what they were listening to they’d say… ‘Rock. I listen to hip hop. I listen to jazz.’ It wasn’t until five years later they’d say, ‘Everything’.”
“Hybrid Theory did some of that work. It was part of the progression towards breaking down boundaries between styles of music.”
Reflecting on his own taste in music at the time, Shinoda said it was hard for him to be drawn to rock music. “I listened to 90% rap music, then I’d look at a lot of rock bands and I’d be like, ‘There’s something too white’ [about it],” he said.
The 43-year-old rapper said the homogenous culture of rock deterred him from the genre.
“That was one of the things that turned me off, especially hair metal,” he said.
“Hair metal felt like very white music and I was growing up in a very diverse city so I didn’t gravitate to it. That didn’t resonate with me.”
“And it wasn’t just about race. I don’t mean the colour of skin. I just mean the culture of it. When nu metal started at the very beginning, it was a very diverse place.”
Things began to change with nu metal, according to Shinoda.
“There was a moment when that term, nu metal, and what it meant, was actually pretty cool. It’s almost impossible to imagine! I remember when Korn first came out and when Deftones’ first couple of albums came out, and whatever you think about a group like Limp Bizkit, their first album was really raw.”
“There were all these groups like Snot and Hed PE, and it wasn’t smart music, but there was something really visceral and culture blending that was important.”
Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory 20th Anniversary Edition is out now.